blogger outreach

The Definitive Guide to Blogger Outreach

blogger outreach

Blogger outreach is the process of building genuine relationships with industry publishers and bloggers to find a common point of interest where both ends will benefit.

At SharpRocket, thirty-percent (30%) of our work is spent on blogger outreach. Making sure that every email penetrates the inboxes of recipients and secures positive responses, requires us to strategically prepare the outreach list before they are sent away.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the exact outreach tactics we’ve implemented to our clients plus tools that we utilize to improve the entire process – from gathering contact information to nudging bloggers to link to content.

 

DEFINITION OF BLOGGER OUTREACH

Before getting straight to the how to section, let me give you some definitions of blogger outreach from what we’ve considered as linker outreach veterans.

Blogger outreach is the process of contacting bloggers through any communication medium for the purposes of collaborating on projects, such as giveaways, content publishing, or sponsored posts.

ross hudgens

Ross Hudgens, Founder of SiegeMedia

Blogger outreach is a marketing channel, which involves building relationships with bloggers to form mutually beneficial partnerships. The aim of these partnerships is to effectively promote one's business, while simultaneously providing value to the blogger and their audience.

dave schneider

Dave Schneider, Founder of Ninja Outreach

5 BLOGGER OUTREACH BEST PRACTICES

What makes practices best in their natures are small differences that can take mediocre emails to outreach emails that convert into high-value links. When others are looking forward for new strategies or tactics that can be tried and tested for a change, there are small overlooked details you can already apply to create success for your next outreach campaign.

1. TRACKING OPEN RATES WITH MAILTRACK.IO

mail-track-open-rate

One missing metric of many outreach campaigns we’ve encountered is open rate. Open rate is basically the ratio of emails opened (whether they landed a coverage or not) over emails sent.

If you are handling several outreach campaigns, you get to overly focus on emails that received responses from bloggers and tend to overlook opportunities from emails opened yet not replied.

If you can track the latter type of emails, you can build potential equity you would have missed if you remove it from your outreach database or you just follow up them with the same initial email template.

One best outreach tool that can aid you with this is Mailtrack.io. This blogger outreach tool enables you to know if emails had been sent to their proper places and if the person you’re reaching out to opens your email. This provides you insights to better understand the majority of your outreach prospects. If a person reads your email but didn’t respond to it, you can draw hypothesis from these:

  • Your content offering doesn’t cut through the interest of the blogger.
  • Your subject line attracts but had no relation to the body of your email.
  • Your email is fully promotional in nature.

From this hypothesis, you can take actionable measures which you can read in the latter part of this guide.

Back from the great functionality of the tool, Mailtrack.io offers the said feature for free. So if you are weighing budget with outreach ROI, the tool helps you save product costs.

2. ENCOURAGING RESPONSE WITH CONTENT PROPOSITION

Mediocre outreach specialists send emails with naked urls to view their content. Without trying to describe what the content is all about and how it does help bloggers’ readers regarding a topic, the email is nearly as the same with spammy bulk blast. Both don’t provide enough value.

Instead, you’d want to capture the blogger’s interest by stating the unique proposition of your content piece – know what differentiates your content from others and explicit it. Including a social proof in your email also builds credibility to your content - e,g, how many influencers had shared your content asset.

Besides content proposition, there is also one way to leverage interest – that is, visitor engagement. This is often stated in broken link building campaigns which goes like, “If you fix the broken link in your resource page, this will help your visitors find the referenced resource”.

Apply this same principle to blogger outreach. You can structure emails that ends something like this:

If you think adding more interview related references to your page can make your website visitors engaged, let me know if you'd like to see it.

With this type of proposition-based call-to-action, you encourage more positive replies from bloggers instead of letting them view only your piece.

3. LEVERAGING SPECIFIC SUBJECT LINES

subject line outreach data skyrocket

Personalization gets so much attention from the link building community, particularly those whose main task at agency is outreach. It’s easy to pre-conclude that because an email is personalized, it would help the content earn links instantly.

That’s not always be the case. If you’re crafting a long customized email, the person who will be reading this would lose his interest at the start. Brevity lacks in some way.

That said, one good advice here is to segment your outreach list based on priority – identify which bloggers needed to pitch emails with a strong level of attention. For low to medium-level bloggers, you can create an email template with specific subject lines, such as, “hoping to be included in your career resource”, which would only require small tweaks in the email replacing attribute tags such as name, site name and target page.

In their latest outreach data, Skyrocket had seen no evidence of getting better results by crafting personalized subject lines in emails (see image above). Besides ease in crafting individual emails, there is uniformity among outreach specialists who work on the same blogger outreach campaign. Also, it saves a ton of time.

4. HIGHLIGHTING ATTRIBUTE TAGS

highlighting attribute tags

As a company who loves outreach, crafting email copies is essential in scaling the initial blogger pitch, which are structured in such a way they could be customized for certain people. This provides us the luxury to spend more time in relationship building once the conversation started, instead of exerting extra efforts to fully personalize emails.

Keep in mind that because email templates are great, they aren’t prone to some human errors. If you happen to send emails to editors without replacing one of the attribute tags ([name], [site name], etc..), you end up losing the potential equity you would get from the conversation you try to make with the editor.

More so, if you aren’t careful with replacing attribute tags with website details, there are possibilities of receiving replies that say, “that is not my website” or “you should have research my website first”.

One minor error in tag replacement is a major error in the entire outreach process.

If you value every single outreach prospect, one tip here is to highlight attribute tags when constructing email copies or canned responses, so if you feel you have forgotten one of the details, you can easily skim the entire email draft before actually sending it. If Gmail is your preferred outreach platform, it is a life saver option to enable the Undo feature –which helps you to revoke your mistake.

5. BRIDGING CONVERSATIONS THROUGH EMAIL

continuing twitter conversation

If you’re not maximizing other mediums of communication aside from email, you’re missing out opportunities that might get you to faster coverage of links.

At SharpRocket, we’ve tested using Twitter in our link prospecting phase and we’ve found great blogs out of it. It also gives us a clue that there are visible industry blogs in this social platform that if we’ll be going to reach out to, we can bridge relationships that can convert into links.

Creativity matters in blogger outreach. If you’re an outreach specialist, you shouldn’t just sit down when you can’t contact the person through email, but find at least two other ways to approach the person.

Initially connect with the outreach prospect using social media platforms like Twitter and bridge the latter part of the conversation through email. There are a few good reasons why I think this workflow works. First, you avoid communication errors caused by email technical issues. Second, you can validate the email to contact to by asking it straight to the Twitter handler (blogger).

Here’s an example of exact email that shows how this practice works:

Writing this further to our conversation on Twitter (I'm @nirajr). Great to be connected.

 

THE 6 BLOGGER OUTREACH TOOLS

This definitive guide to blogger outreach isn’t complete without tools that can aid you with the entire outreach process. So here is a list of tools that I highly recommend and we have actually used and tested for our clients, which you can also try to take your campaign to the next level.

1. EMAIL HUNTER

email-hunter

Email Hunter is a great freemium tool in finding email address without actually dumping to each individual pages of the website to collect the contact details. It’s a definitely a time-saver tool for bulk lists of outreach prospects that might need hours for manual searching of email-addresses.

However, when Email Hunter pulls out data, it would provide a long list of contact emails, so you have to manually choose which email to contact to (preferably this kind of email format – name@domain.com). Later this guide, you’ll learn about our list of prioritized email formats that respond to pitches we make.

2. MAIL TESTER

mailtester

If you’re doing blogger outreach for years, you probably would agree with me that an outreach campaign usually comes with “Mailed Delivery Messages”. If you skip these errors and you try to find secondary emails to replace them with, you can consume some minutes, which should have been used for other outreach workflows.

You can avoid said type of messages by validating emails before you actually pitch them. Mailtester does help determine if emails are of good use, which minimizes your time searching for secondary-level emails.

3. BUZZSTREAM

buzzstream

If you land on a website and you want to contact the blogger straight from the browser, you can do so with Buzzstream’s Buzzmaker tool. The tool gives you the luxury to execute immediate blogger outreach without using the main outreach dashboard.

Buzzstream lets you also track emails that converted into links and enables you to label emails with specific relationship levels, so you can monitor which ones should be prioritized.

The said tool works effectively for large teams of link builders and outreach specialists.

4. PITCHBOX

pitchbox

Designed for small teams of link developers, Pitchbox allows you to automate follow-ups and consecutively send them to bloggers with a set amount of time interval between each follow-up. If there is no reply within the first days after an email has been sent, the tool sends another follow-up email – which takes away the trouble of checking if the next set of follow-ups cut through the inboxes of outreach prospects.

Additionally, Pitchbox’s difference-maker is the ability to create pre-built reports – a definite time-saver for outreach managers wanting to grab email data (i.e. number of email responses vs number of emails sent). Instead of manually computing these numbers, you can automate the reports by clicking on buttons.

5. NINJA OUTREACH

ninja outreach

Ninja Outreach’s handy feature from a blogger outreach perspective is allowing you to pre-fill contact forms with email templates upon visiting contact pages of blogs. If you guaranteed that a certain person is qualified to reach out to, the said feature of Ninja Outreach saves you time not revisiting them for future outreach.

Generally, if you have a basic to intermediate level knowledge in the overall blogger outreach process, the tool has an easy user interface that helps you execute everything from link prospecting to email outreach.

6. MEME GENERATOR

meme generator

For saturated niches where bloggers receive dozens of emails every day, it’s ineffective to send emails that almost look like other blogger pitches. While it’s true that content can speak for itself, transitioning your emails from good to great necessitate your email to stand out.

One way to do this is to tweak some parts of your email that will add humor to your message but still encourages bloggers to respond to your pitch (see image below) - hat tip to @seoteky.

meme-email

 

THE SCIENCE BEHIND EFFECTIVE BLOGGER OUTREACH

Data, in particular psychology studies, leverages the results of the entire workflow of blogger outreach – as it reveals things that needs improvement or removal and helps plan strategies that almost-predict results in the next campaigns.

Below is a curated infographic of external research studies generated from analyzing thousands of emails sent to different people. This will definitely help you craft outreach emails that guarantees more than average success.

blogger outreach infographic

Share this Image On Your Site

If you’re looking for more supporting data of this infographic, here are the step-by-step breakdown on the science behind effective blogger outreach.

USE CC FOR TWO RECIPIENTS

When gathering contact data of publishing sites, you mostly see that twenty percent (20%) of these blogs are coupled with multiple authors and/or team of editors. This may raise confusion on which one of these people you should be reaching out to.

At SharpRocket, we had a solid chronological preference on which email should be collected first.

  • Visible email - find the most visible contact email on the page (for resource page) or on contact pages - domain.com/about or domain.com/about-me (for blogs).
  • Personal email (e.g. venchito@digitalphilippines.net). Use Rapportive or Clearbit to validate if it’s the actual email being used.
  • Contact page of the sole author
  • Department / Position-based - identify the person who is capable (at most) of accessing the website and editing the article/page.
  • admin@domain.com
  • editor@domain.com
  • info@domain.com

If there are several emails to choose from, collect two of them and save it to your database.

In the study conducted by Yesware, they’ve found out that emails sent to one person while cc’ing another are 12% more likely to get response than email sent to two people.

yesware-email-outreach-case-study

The probable reason for this is that the one person who directly receives the email has the responsibility to take an action, because there’s another person looking at the email. This also encourages the other person to reply if the primary action doesn’t take place. Needless to say, you can receive more response by only sending an email to one person while cc’ing the other recipient.

One quick note here is do not try to get the following email formats from prospect sites, as emailing them would directly go to support, customer service or sales group - they won’t take time if your pitch isn’t product-related.

  • sales@domain.com
  • support@domain.com
  • service@domain.com
  • hello@domaincom
  • office@domain.com

The next best option when these emails are only available in the website is to grab the site’s page where it locates the contact form. Then direct your pitch through that form.

MAKE SUBJECT LINES CONCISE

ReturnPath shared an interesting study on subject line usage, which shows that 49 subject line characters or less gets 12% open rate and 75% CTR higher than those with 50 characters or more.

This may require immediate testing to make results possible for your campaign, but in essence, the reason it works is the brevity of the subject line.

Make your subject lines straightforward so busy bloggers could get the whole point of your message – definitely makes your email stand out.

REFERENCE PAST ENGAGEMENT

What most link developers or SEOs didn’t truly understand about relationships, is its ability to create a flywheel of links with low maintenance cost and efforts. When you connect to publishers, particularly those that gained mutual content benefits, it’s a less hustle to distribute a newly-released content to a target audience if you have a network of publishers to promote your resource.

Use this to your own advantage.

A smart outreach strategy starts an email with a reference to any past engagement with the publisher. Whether it’s a Twitter conversation or a recent offline interaction, a statement indicating a relationship gives a cutting edge to outreach results.

Buzzstream and Fractl found that 66% of publishers are more likely to open an email with a subject line referencing a past relationship. This added small detail to subject lines makes a big impact, if executed properly.

PERSONALIZE SALUTATION

If you want to get higher ROI from outreach efforts, personalization is a must-have rule when crafting an email. While this part is a no-brainer, many still ignores its power. If you send a pitch to email formats like editor@domain.com, when the site has its own about me page, it’s easy to conclude that you didn’t spend a minute researching even just the name of the blogger.

iacquire outreach case study

Additionally, using “Hi” as your greeting can improve close rate 5.63% over all other specific types based on iAcquire’s lessons in analyzing 300,000 custom outreach emails. There is no particular conclusion from this, but somehow reflects on the idea that greetings like “Hi” is commonly used in normal conversations.

WRITE SHORT EMAILS

Brevity in subject lines complements with short body email messages. Among thousands of emails, SiegeMedia concluded that the highest converting email length is an average of 83 words. Their hypothesis? Short enough to be easily readable, long enough to be customized.

short blogger outreach email

Be careful though when you customize email copies and before hitting the “send” button. You can get messed up by not replacing attribute tags (i.e. {Name} and {Site Name} or using two email templates in one email – one copy is at the bottom of the email (not visible at first glance).

USE SOCIAL PROOF

In email outreach, mentioning a social proof in the body of an email breaks the stranger barrier between the sender and the recipient.

When you include a mutual connection in your email, either a colleague, decision maker, influencer or popular publisher, it signals that you valued the opinions of others. This takes cues that you’re being related to a particular person they might know, which easily builds trust.

Studies of Yesware show that emails with social proof get 33% reply rate. Content-wise, if you’re being asked to promote a certain content, you wanted to know if the resource has gained some traction already, guaranteeing shares and additional links to your site when it is promoted.

A few social proof examples that are worthy to be mentioned in your email:

  • 3000+ shares on a piece you’ve shared recently
  • Contributor’s badge for a large publication site
  • Number of publications or media exposures you’ve been featured in
  • Name of industry experts you collaborated with

INCLUDE TRUST SIGNALS IN FOOTER

Aside from social proof, there is also one trust signal that can drastically increase your campaign’s link acquisition rate – that is, branded logo. If you’re reaching out to bloggers in behalf of a client or your company, adding a branded logo to your email makes success possible.

A few statistics to consider, gathered from iAcquire’s outreach case study:

  • Emails without logos – close rate at 3.72%
  • Emails with embedded logos – close rate of 6.03%
  • Emails with linked logos – 10.58%

logo outreach case study

If you’re working in an agency as an outreach manager, ask permission from your clients first before sending emails to bloggers with embedded company logos. Some white-label clients don’t want their brands disclosed in the blogging community – outreach specialist will act as a generic content marketer finding the resource worthy to be promoted.

SEND EMAILS EARLY MORNING

Bloggers either full-time writers, in-house specialists or business owners have their own specific hours in a workday to check email inbox. Taking advantage of this increases the chances of your outreach emails being opened. So the next time you pitch bloggers for any reason, consider the best day of the week and best time of day where they’ll likely see and prioritize your email.

Buzzstream and iPullRank found that email sent between 1AM and 9AM return the highest placement and response rates. Hypothetically, if you schedule emails in this range of hours, you’ll increase the chances of getting your emails read and prioritized by your target bloggers for emails responses.

Additionally, pitching emails at best email reading days converts better than them on any particular day.

In the recent study by SiegeMedia, it shows that Monday is the best day to send initial outreach emails among other days. Monday emails also converts 80% better than Thursday.

In my opinion, Monday works best primarily because it is the start of the working day. Bloggers have the energy to respond to as many relevant emails they supposed to answer.

WITHHOLD LINK IN INITIAL EMAIL

I’m not a fan of being aggressive with email outreach. We usually pitch customize emails explaining why our content piece is worthy to be read and shared. Emails don’t include a naked link to view the content but rather just asking bloggers if they are interested to take one look at the resource.

SiegeMedia has the same approach with us of forgoing the link, to “catch and hold” the interests of bloggers. Once the interest has been captured, the next step is to maintain it. .

withhold link

Starting the conversations first and keeping their interests until they decide to reference the work/resource better results to links than carelessly landing an email that gets to auto-spam filters – another reason why withholding the link in the initial email is preferred.

FOLLOW UP PEOPLE

Hubspot found that 50% of emails are opened in the first 24 hours. After 24-hour timeframe, 80% of emails were opened within 12 days of being sent.

If you didn’t receive any response after the initial outreach, you can follow up bloggers to increase chances of getting additional responses.

A silent conversation is worse than a solid “no” response. If you don’t get a response, you are stuck  with a decision whether to continue the conversation or proceed to another prospect in the list.

If you decide to send follow-up messages, be mindful that too much of it can irritate the blogger – potentially can burn bridges along the process.

One way to avoid this is to send one last follow-up message to know the reason why they never had a chance to get back to you.

At SharpRocket, we send an email listing down three common reasons of silence and encouraging bloggers to choose one.

Here’s an email template we send to publishers.

Hi [ Name ],

I haven’t heard back from you, and that tells me one of three things:

1) You’re not interested at this time, but we can work out something in the future.

2) You’re still interested, but haven’t had the time to get back to me yet.

3)  You saw our content but you think it’s not fit to add to your page.

Please let me know which one it is, because I’m starting to worry. If you have other reasons, please let me know so I can stop bothering you.

Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.

[ Name ]

This follow-up email enables us to act on issues immediately, such as:

  • Get back to the blogger when there’s another content/resource to offer.
  • Schedule a custom follow-up to get an update after some time (for case 2).
  • Improve content based on the feedback of the blogger (for case 3).

Based on our data, 70% non-respondents to first email would reply to a follow-up message above. This saves a lot of time for outreach specialists as they don’t need to reach out to the prospect again if the blogger decides not to be contacted again.

FURTHER READING:

Blogger Outreach The Right Way

Have We Been Helpful?

Want to take your link building to the next level – — but don’t know where to start, and are feeling overwhelmed by this post.

We are here to help you. SharpRocket is a team of link building specialists who love building high quality links.

To learn more about how we can help, take a look at the services we offer.


definitive guide to link reclamation

The Definitive Guide to Link Reclamation

definitive guide to link reclamation

what is link reclamation

Link reclamation is the process of identifying and fixing broken links on your website and getting links from other publishers who mentioned your brand or content but didn’t linked to your site. This is perhaps the most effective link building tactic that can drive initial set of links to your website with ease – it won’t require new published content, you utilize your existing web assets for link reclamation (website, images, text, article, etc..).

Let's also see how other link building experts define link reclamation.

Link reclamation is the process of fixing broken links on your company website and other websites that link to yours.

razvan cognitiveseo

Razvan, Founder of CognitiveSEO and BrandMentions

Reclaiming links is a process that happens when you've either lost links and want them back or when you've not been properly linked to, such as with a broken link or a non-linked mention. Links can vanish for multiple reasons. Sites get moved, pages get removed, and your link isn't always foremost in a webmaster's mind. Keeping an eye on lost links and non-linked mentions is a fantastic way to keep and add to the good links you want in your profile.

julie joyce

Julie Joyce, Founder of LinkFish Media

is link reclamation the right tactic for your business

If you’re asking whether or not link reclamation is the right tactic for your business, the answer is – it depends.

Link reclamation is best utilized by brands who have already established authority in their industries whether through word of mouth marketing, content development, press publication and other branding initiatives. Given that link reclamation requires tracking of existing publishers who mentioned the brand in any form, authoritative brands (i.e. Fortune 500s) that have a set of content followers would more likely benefit from this link building tactic.

For newly established brands, link reclamation isn’t the initial link building technique that could be easily implemented right away, unless they have content assets readily available on their sites that can potentially earn links from time to time.

link reclamation best practices

1. COINED TERM

Coined term is a word or phrase created by a publisher or content creator used to refer to a new thing (an event, strategy, place, tip, etc..). The term has been mentioned a lot of times by other industry publishers in their content pieces – exposing the word/phrase to an existing audience and using it as well in their daily conversations (whether online or offline).

Almost every industry has its own coined term. Whether you are in finance, health and even in search, you’ll notice a lot of words that are mere creation by influencers and by highly respected SEO publishers. In fact, the topic of this post, link reclamation, is just a coined term created by Eric Ward way back in 2004.

So how can you leverage coined term creation in acquiring links?

First, you’ll have to think of something new to contribute to the industry – i.e. a tip or trick that would highly benefit a specific group of audience. It shouldn’t be a copy of another principle, but is unique or a revised or twisted version of a thing.

For instance, Brian Dean coined the term, “Skyscraper Technique” on his SEO blog, Backlinko. It has been used multiple times on other marketing blogs as one of the effective SEO strategies for ranking a website on Google and acquiring consistent traffic from search engines.

backlinko skyscraper technique

Once you created a coined term, it's time to promote them to your audience. Here are a few ways to get traction to your coined-term-based content:

  • Build links pointing to your content asset from relevant websites within your blogosphere.
  • Get internal links from pages that can support your content - i.e. glossary.
  • Include your coined term when answering commonly-asked questions in forums and Q&A sites.

Finally, if you've seen high interest to your coined term from your web community, you can track which publishers and content creators have used your created term in their own content pieces. Tools like BrandMentions and Mentions.net can aid you with this.

2. DRIVE VISIBILITY TO UNLINKED CONTENT

Reaching out to webmasters through email outreach and asking them to credit references by linking to the original creator works effectively for most of the link builders out there – 50% or higher is the usual conversion rate.

However, if you nudge potential linkers with pre-acted efforts i.e. distributing their content on content promotion platforms, you’ll receive more responses and more links reclaimed for your brand.

One way to show that you initiate connections with these potential linkers is to actually share their content on social media sites even before you reached out to them via email. Notify these publishers by adding social handles to your social updates to make them aware that you shared the original post.

Putting email postscripts like, “I’ve shared your post on Twitter already, twitter status is here: www.url.com to your pitch helps build enough trust to get them link to your website.

3. FILE LOCATION LINKS

file location links

Not utilizing images for link acquisition is an opportunity lost especially if you have multiple images uploaded on your site (i.e. ecommerce branded product images).

Those images particularly branded images intended for distribution (i.e. infographic), should be monitored regularly to see if there are websites that have already linked to you as their source. However, if they’re linking to the file location (i.e. domain.com/images/photo.png) instead of the page that image is uploaded (i.e. domain.com/blog-post/), then content creators who linked to you this way should be asked to change their destination link.

Monitor file location links using Ahrefs, CognitiveSEO or OSE and ask content creators to change the destination link – from file location link to the linking page.

4. EXACT MATCH IMAGE SEARCH FOR EASY IDENTIFICATION

One of the difficulties when finding pages to reclaim links from, particularly for enterprises, is seeing several pages in search results with the need to further filter out irrelevant pages – i.e. those where content are not owned by you.

For instance, if you are reclaiming links from content creators who uploaded your infographic from their sites but not having link to you as the source, then doing a search for [ blogging ] [infographic ] would reveal branded visuals from other publishers.

At SharpRocket, our main qualifier for exact branded image reclamation is the use of allintitle – advanced search operator. This helps Google drives out pages with page titles that are not similar to the title of the branded content.

google search allintitle infographic

One thing to keep in mind, if your visual titles aren’t unique (i.e. it’s the most common keyword others are trying to rank for as well), then there are filtering efforts you still have to do in search results.

Even having unique visual titles, there is a ~10 to ~20% inefficiency here since you’ll also weed out pages from allintitle search but happen to be the pages where your content has been placed on, examples are:

  • Pages with a different page title but uploaded your branded content.
  • Pages that only includes a portion of your visual (sliced infographic into sections), then getting only one portion as a resource to their content.

For 90% of the time, using allintitle search operator for image link reclamation helps you easily target pages that used your branded content. And when they haven’t credited you as the source, reach out to them with tested copies and secure those links (sample outreach copies in the latter section of this post).

5. SHORT FORM TEXT

buffer social media stats

Short form text is a small piece of content that is worthy of mention on other publishing sites for reference to a certain topic. This varies in many kinds, such as:

Having a few short form texts in your website doesn’t only increase brand exposure but also help you gain editorial links from other publishers who’ll be referencing your small content from their blogs. If fortunately they’ve linked to your site, reach out to them and send a simple “thank you” message. Building a rapport with these content creators would amplify additional links in the future – as they can also refer to your short form text from their content pieces on other blogs (their guest posts).

If in case some publishers didn’t credit you as the source, you can pitch them to reclaim unlinked mentions of your content.

If you are starting out to build your our own brand and don’t have a set of followers yet to spread your short form texts on the web then here are some ways to promote these small pieces of content:

  • Participate in industry forums and Q&A sites by answering relevant questions, particularly those that require definition of terms – so you can simply insert your short form texts easily and still get value from the discussion – clicks and assisted conversions.
  • Track publishers who frequently use the industry phrase and offer them to add your own definition.
  • Include them to your site’s external web assets (i.e. linking to them from your contributed content on other blogs). This nudges readers from other blogs to make it also a reference in their own content pieces.

Building short form content assets isn’t scalable. You can’t force your brand to create this type of content if it’s not totally remarkable. Otherwise, it will serve as a plain text in your page without any publishers stealing your content.

The solid gold process for creating remarkable short form texts is to think of something unexpected hook in it – the “amazing thing” that initially captures the interests of majority of industry publishers.

6. GIF FORMS FOR QUICK TUTORIALS

gif tutorial

The growing industry of content marketing creates new types of content that helps consumers read, see and digest information easily on the web.

One form of content asset that I noticed became popular and useful these days is GIF-based quick tutorial. It is almost similar to the traditional video tutorials created by startup agencies and bloggers trying to entice customers or clients to purchase their products or services. What only differs is that they are easy to consume as you don’t need to click the play button to watch the full tutorial, it automatically runs even without initiatives from the user.

So how can you maximize the use of GIF-based quick tutorials for link acquisition?

Before anything else, let’s first understand that not all quick tutorial GIFs could get you earn additional links. In most cases, this type of content is actually a portion or one step in a whole definitive guide or resources. Unless, the content can stand on its own – i.e. it doesn’t need other quick tutorials to support its idea, it isn’t a feasible content to be promoted.

How to come up with ideas for useful GIF quick tutorials:

  • Generate content ideas from Top GIFs on Reddit.
  • Brainstorm common problems in your industry that don’t require long form tutorials to provide solutions to. An example of a useful quick tutorial is this Resetting Password gif –almost everyone who uses computer encounters this problem.
  • Look for frequently asked questions (FAQs) page in your niche and answer one question with a simple GIF quick tutorial.

When you are done brainstorming for topic ideas, you can use any of the following tools to create your own GIF quick tutorial:

Once content is published, spend time monitoring publishers who have used your quick tutorial in their own webpages. You can use Tineye to track websites that stole your branded GIF, which you can reach out to reclaim unlinked mentions.

tineye results

7. OPTIMIZE YOUR PHOTOS FOR IMAGE SEARCH

image optimization

Image optimization is one of the best practices in search marketing as it helps sites’ branded visuals to rank for targeted keywords and absorbs additional search traffic from organic source.

Given that content creators are using search engines to look for high quality images, ranking highly for image search also allows your visuals to be featured on other relevant blogs. – and if they’re not linked to you as the source, you can pitch them and ask for a link.

Here’s a quick checklist of points to complete for each visual:

  • Optimize your image traditionally for target keywords (e.g. star-wars-jedi.jpg).
  • Describe your image in a few words using the alt attribute tag – maximum number of characters is 125.
  • Try to come up with unique versions of images since Google also treats duplicate images in image search similar to what it does in universal search.
  • Use correct image types for page speed purposes: JPEGs for images with rich colors, no transparency; GIFs for images with flat colors; PNG8 for transparent images with flat colors and PNG24 for transparent images with rich colors.

8. CHANGE LINK REQUESTS FOR OLD DOMAINS

When building links to new domains of your brand, one tactic that search marketers often overlook is reclaiming links built to old web properties. These are links pointing to hosted sites like Wordpress.com and other free platforms or links to old owned domains. You may have started blogging using these old/hosted sites and received several links to it, but sooner have a blog on your own domain or have bought a new one.

The optimal process is to check your old web properties and see if there are other websites (not owned by you) pointing to your old website. Get these links changed by asking existing linkers to link to the right destination pages or you can permanently (301) redirect old pages to their equivalent landing pages in your new website. This is very important since you don’t want to redirect all pages from old site to new site’s homepage only unless it’s relevant and beneficial to do so.

A few more tips to keep in mind when requesting to change links from old domains to new websites:

  • Check if old properties are still owned by the brand you’re working for. You can’t simply grab content assets (images, rich media, etc…) and anything that has been hosted in your previous domain and publish them in your new website. Otherwise, you’ll be the sued by the new owner of those aged sites.
  • If it’s possible, redirect old pages to their equivalent landing pages in your new website. This allows users to find the information they’re actually looking straight ahead as opposed to using the homepage’s search bar to look for the right page.

the 7 best link reclamation tools

There are a hundred options of tools on the web that helps link builders track unlinked mentions, identify broken pages in their websites or initiate conversations through email outreach, but here is my own recommended toolset that can assist you in a link reclamation workflow.

1. BUILTVISIBLE’S LINK RECLAMATION TOOL

builtvisible

This is probably the most accessible tool in the market that supports in-house and agency link builders for tracking existing mentions - whether linked or unlinked. This free tool also allows viewing websites’ data – domain authority, page authority and number of linking root domains, which makes it easy for search marketers to prioritize outreach prospects that might generate the highest link value.

Agency link builders can execute link reclamation at scale by renaming Google sheet with their own labels of clients’ campaigns.

If you are lowering costs on premium SEO tools, then this one might be a good option to add to your link reclamation toolset.

Note: Google is a bit slow returning data in the spreadsheet, but aside from that, the tool works pretty well.

2. BRANDMENTIONS

brandmentions homepage

Brandmention’s main value from a link reclamation perspective is sending email notifications whenever a mention of your content has been tracked. It enables you to monitor branded mentions in real time while doing your other marketing tasks. This keeps you on loop for new publishers you can get in touch for content partnerships.

What keeps this tool distinct from other mention tracking products are its notable features – language filtering and location-based sifting. This allows you to prioritize mentions from certain audiences where you could further analyze why and how these mentions had been placed.

3. MAILTRACK.IO

mailtrack io homepage

If you’re tracking open rates in outreach, MailTrack.io provides a free option to guarantee reporting for that said key performance indicator. If you play in an industry where publishers aren’t responsive in emails, open rates enables you to counteract communication issues. Options might include switching to another subject line that captures immediate interests from recipients or adding more personalization straight to subject lines in order to nudge email opens from prospects.

It also allows you to know when content creators read your emails, giving you a framework for optimal email scheduling times. If you’re using emails for link reclamation outreach, you need to be using MailTrack.io.

4. TINEYE

tineye homepage

Tineye might be the most underrated image reclamation tool that exists on the web. It enables you to track websites that stole your branded visuals – whether it is a logo, infographic or company staff photo and when these publishers haven’t refer to you as their original source, reach out to them and reclaim image-source links.

Additionally, if you are working in an image-heavy space where every section of the content requires photos, you might consider adding Tineye to your link reclamation toolset for image reverse engineering purposes.

5. EMBED CODE GENERATOR

siegemedia embed code generator

Siegemedia’s Embed Code Generator is a simple but powerful tool for distributing visual content to other publishing websites with the full guarantee of linking to you as the original creator.

Aside from its customization features which include image and embed box resize, it enables you to see the preview of embed code straight from the platform itself. The tool gives you lower probability that other industry content creators will not link to you as the main reference for customized images.

6. MENTION.NET

mention net platform link monitoring

Mention.net is the next-best option in terms of uncovering mentions of your brand based on various sources such as social, news, blogs, videos and forums.  The difference-maker of this tool is its capability of filtering web mentions using sentiments (neutral, positive and negative). This aids you to easily see negative mentions that you can counteract immediately through proper response.

It also allows you to filter results by tags which you can use to sort data according to industries, keywords and content properties.

7. 301 REDIRECTS

simple 301 redirects

301 Redirects is a simple and free tool for Wordpress users. For introductory link builders without a set of programming skills or access to FTP files, this plugin enables you to permanently redirect links to corresponding webpages.

On a link reclamation perspective, this workflow helps you preserve a smooth flow of link equity through your website by minimizing internal broken pages.

link reclamation outreach copies

The main course of link reclamation is outreach, which is basically asking publishers who haven’t linked to you as the source, to get them attribute to your content asset by linking to it.

Conversion rates using this workflow normally gets 50% and even goes up to 100% if everything is executed correctly.

To get the best results for your link reclamation outreach, below are a few outreach strategies with examples of email templates that you can test for yourself.

1. RECLAIMING LINKS OUTREACH

Once you tracked all publishers who’ve mentioned you or grab a certain content asset (but didn’t linked to you), you can reach out to them and ask to give you credits as references.

Being aggressive – i.e. using copyright law or license as the initial paragraph in your pitch that doesn’t sounds polite often decreases response rate.  Though this is not the case maybe for publishers whom you’ve built relationships with before as they would normally take time to go to their site’s dashboard and give you links from their pages.

The best practice still is to make your pitch sound that you actually want to spark connections with them and being kind to ask for links from their websites.

Here’s an outreach template for asking links from publishers who haven’t credit you as their references:

Subject: Thanks for mentioning [ SITE/BRAND NAME]

Hi [ NAME ],

Hope you’re doing great day.

I would like to drop a quick message to say thank you for mentioning [ BRAND NAME ] in your post - [URL].

I noticed that you hadn’t included details of our brand and was wondering if you would be kind to include a link pointing to our website, so your visitors would see more information about your reference.

Thanks again

Kind regards,

[ YOUR NAME ]

2. REQUESTING TO CHANGE DESTINATION PAGES

The request to change destination pages in links pointing to your old properties, sad to say, is often ignored by bloggers and content creators. What we’ve tested that best nudge these publishers to take an action is to give them reasons why doing so is useful for their websites.

Here are a few points that you can add to your pitch that increases the odds to get bloggers change links’ destination pages:

  • Emphasize how changing linking to pages helps their website achieve a positive user experience, given that visitors would be able to see the right information on pages referred to by their content as opposed to seeing broken pages - if your old web properties have been moved.
  • Include additional unique proposition to your pitch – i.e. offer free content pieces to publishers.
  • Make sure that you properly include details of your request – page where the link has been placed, anchor text used in external linking, old page’s URL and the new site/page’s link.

Here’s an email copy to use for email outreach.

Subject: Broken link on [ SITE NAME ]

Hi [ NAME ],

Hope you’re doing well.

It’s [ NAME ] from [ BRAND NAME ]. I noticed that you were linking to one of our old page, which has now been moved.

The link is on this page [ URL OF THEIR PAGE ] and is pointing to [ OLD URL ] using the phrase [ ANCHOR TEXT].

I’m wondering if you could possibly update the link to [ NEW URL ].

Your readers would benefit from this as they can now see the information they are actually looking for.

Thanks for your time.

Best regards,

[ YOUR NAME ]

3. BRAND MISSPELLINGS

One of the most obvious but often overlooked strategies in link reclamation is finding publishers who had misspelled your brand or product name in their mentions and asking them for spelling corrections. This process may be useful to a few cases where brand names are spelled incorrectly:

  • A digit in a brand name (Believe2Succeed spelled as Believe to Succeed).
  • Unusual sounding
  • Foreign names
  • Rhotacized words (inserting an r) – e.g. surport for support, and de-rhotacizing (removing an r) – e.g. supprise for surprise (source)
  • Countries (e.g. Philipines for Philippines).

There are still other cases where brand names could be misspelled aside from what’s mentioned – use this tool to generate misspelled variations of your brand name.

Once you’ve identified misspelled mentions, it’s time to reach out to publishers using this email template:

Subject: Could you edit this?

Hello [ NAME ],

It’s [ YOUR NAME ] from [ SITE NAME ].

We noticed that your page [ ENTER POST URL ] is linking to [ SITE NAME ]  - thank you so much for the love. Unfortunately, the link is spelled incorrectly and we’d like to ask you for a favor if you could correct this – so your readers could easily find our website.

The proper spelling of our website is [ SITE NAME ].

Is it possible to update the link?

Thank you,

[ YOUR NAME ]

Additionally, you can monitor misspelled variation of your brand name with the highest number of mentions using tools like BrandMentions. This workflow, when found to be successful over time, can also be added to your link reclamation process.

ADDITIONAL LINK RECLAMATION OPTIONS:

There are several other options you can try to get backlinks from other content creators besides aforementioned link reclamation methods.

  • Make youtube linkers link to primary domain. Video-heavy publishers have more than average chances of earing links from content creators uploading non-owned videos in their websites. Instead of preserving links to your youtube content, why not get them link to the original source – your primary domain. Use Open Site Explorer to find these publishers.
  • Make ”links to tweets” point to primary domain. In an event where tweets could be used as references for actionable tips, news coverage or short form data, leveraging links to tweets for your own website’s benefit is a sure fire way to improve your site’s backlink profile.
  • Reclaim links from stolen powerpoint. If this visual type of content has been uploaded to Slideshare or had been shared on similar sites, same steps for the two above will work also work for this workflow.

Have We Been Helpful?

Want to take your link building to the next level – — but don’t know where to start, and are feeling overwhelmed by this post.

We are here to help you. SharpRocket is a team of link building specialists who love building high quality links.

To learn more about how we can help, take a look at the services we offer.


link prospecting through observations

How to Speed Link Prospecting Through Observations

link prospecting through observations

There are many viable guides and how-to’s in link prospecting from different SEO experts. Some techniques are learned simply through your own observations from campaigns that you have handled. We, at SharpRocket, incorporate those observations from our own personal experiences which helped us be more productive in building links.

LISTING DOWN LINK SIMILARITIES

Most bloggers use the same terms in creating links for their pages. For example, in creating a resource page, the commonly used terms are domain.com/niche-resources; domain.com/resources.php; domain.com/links.html. Therefore, we can use google queries such as inurl:niche-resources or inurl:links.html. The search engine result will give us a list of resource pages according to the niche we are looking for.  Below are other search queries you can use to find additional prospects for your client which we personally use:

  • resources/links
  • resource-guide
  • useful-links
  • useful-resources
  • niche-resources
  • recommended-resources

Though not all search qeries such as resources.php, links.html, or useful-links, provide resources that are relevant to the client’s industry, it is advisable to add a distinction which is based on the client’s niche to narrow down the results in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), e.g. inurl:useful-links “niche”. Google will then provide you results based on the keyword you used which is more applicable to your campaign.

inurl useful resources photography

Pro Tip: Just be creative with the words you use along with being observant. If you have a hunch or an idea which you think can be helpful, it wouldn’t hurt to try experimenting on it.  Who knows, you might even be able to discover other useful techniques you can use to further enhance your link building skills. Don’t forget to check out the links on the resource page you found, for it may redirect you to a new prospect opportunity which you have not seen through the list that Google displayed.

UTILIZING COUNTRY DOMAIN EXTENSIONS

As you may have noticed, some domains do not always end in .com, .org, or .edu, and other web addresses use different domain extensions depending on the country in which their website is being hosted (e.g. “.au” which is hosted in Australia or “.ca” which is hosted in Canada). By using these domain extensions you can narrow down the results based on your preferred country or target audience. You can use the advance search operator “inurl” followed by the country domain extension that you want to focus on (e.g. inurl:.ca). You can also add a distinction to make the search query more precise. If you are looking for guides or resources you can use to enhance your skills in photography, you can use inurl:.ca/photography-resources. Google will then give you a list of photography resource pages with the country domain of Canada.

inurl-ca-photography-resources

Pro Tip: You can use these techniques in any niche or industry you wish to do research on. However, if you don’t have a specific country you would like to focus on, searching for link targets that end with .com first is most recommended because it is the most recognizable and highly used domain extension. You can then use the other country domain extension of your preference to gain new prospect opportunities.

You can visit this Webopedia guide for a complete list of countries and their domain extensions.

IDENTIFY COMPANY BLOGS THROUGH SERPS

By taking notice of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), we can also pinpoint if the link is a company website or a personal blog. Though not all domain names and punctuation marks are 100% accurate, it can somehow lessen our time in checking each link just to see if  it is a company website. Here are some examples:

intitle-light-bulb

The above query will display links that have the key words “light” and “bulb” in the title of the article .  One result has the punctuation mark called pipe or vertical bar on the page title. It was followed by the domain name “1000Bulbs.com”. Here, we can be quite sure that it is a company website because the page url was also mentioned in the title.

1000-bulbs

Clicking the link will redirect you to the webpage.

1000-bulbs-homepage

Another punctuation mark used in identifying a company website is hyphen or dash. As you can see, the domain name which is the brand name of the company is included in the page title after the hyphen. Most of the time, em dash or the long dash is used.

 

homedepot-category

Lastly, the punctuation mark colon. The difference of this punctuation mark from the hyphen and vertical bar is that you can instantly notice it at the beginning of the page title. The brand name is cited first followed by the colon and page title of the article.

amazon-search-lightbulb

amazon-lightbulbs

We can distinguish company websites through these punctuation marks located at the page title. Just a little note, not all sites that uses hyphen, vertical bar, and colon in the page title are companies. Some content creators tend to do that as well.

MORE OBSERVATIONS, FASTER PROSPECTING

Observational learning is a must in link prospecting. It helps us maximize the use of Google queries and lessen our time in clicking unnecessary links. Simple terms, domain names and symbols might have deeper meaning. This is why we have to keep our eyes open and our minds sharp. Noticing terms you don’t usually use but is mentioned in the client’s industry can be used as keywords for a broader research. Checking on how domain names are created by bloggers can give us a better chance at generating a higher number of results. We just have to be adamant about making observation a priority.